Kayaking Drakes Estero

GPS Track for this Route

Peter, Sylvia, and I headed out to Drake’s Estero on September 23, 2006 to look for some Leopard Sharks and Bat Rays.  I had seen these beautiful creatures in the water adjacent to the Limantour Spit on previous ocassions.  Today, the skies were clear near Inverness, but quite overcast near the mouth of Drake’s Estero.  We discovered that Blue Waters Kayaks will not rent kayaks to people who want to go to Drake’s Estero.  The primary reason for this is to reduce the number of people in the water (thus reducing the impact on wildlife).  If you decide to go, please consider this and make sure to maintain a distance of 300 feet from hauled out marine mammals.  Also, please check the closure dates for kayaking.  Peter explained the importance of this to me – if you scare a harbor seal so that it decides to jump into the water, it would be like someone splashing a bucket of cold water on you in the middle of your sleep.  As you might imagine, if someone did this to you every night, it might even  infringe on your (easy human) survival.  Apparently, harbor seals are pretty brave in the water – when they are in their element, they will come right up to your boat.  When they are on land warming up, they are quite timid – so that’s when it’s really important to steer clear.  We paddled into a head wind from Johnson’s Oyster Farm, and made it out to the Limantour Spit for lunch.  After lunch, I was excited to take Peter and Sylvia to see the sharks and rays.  Unfortunately, it was overcast, and we weren’t seeing anything.  I apologized, and we headed up some narrow waterways to make the trip more interesting.  We wanted to stay on the water a little longer, so we headed farther into the Limantour bay.  Suddenly Sylvia spotted a shark.  Sure enough, we got to see plenty of sharks and rays after that.  In fact, at one point, Sylvia jokingly commented that now there were so many sharks that they weren’t even exciting anymore.  Peter took some good above water pictures of the sharks.  I experimented with his submersible camera bag (and then Adobe Photoshop once I got home to add in the shark).  His pictures of the sharks were real, and pretty quality.  Peter and I paddled out into the mouth, and spent as much time on the waves as we dared.  It was a pretty strong ebb tide, so heading back into Drake’s Estero, we only made about 2 miles per hour.  It was tough, and the waters were pretty confused.  We eased back to the oyster farm, working against a pretty strong current at first (which eased up as we go farther into the bay).  The sun came back out, and we headed for some food.  All in all, an excellent day.

I have been to Drakes Estero a number of times, and it has always been a winner of a trip.  The pictures included below are from a variety of trips.

Launch is at Johnsons Oyster Farm.  Access may change here, so please check ahead of time

Launch is at Johnsons Oyster Farm. Access may change here, so please check ahead of time

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There are submerged Oyster cages in the shallow water that you will be paddling through.   You will need to be careful as you glide over them.  The presence of these cages may change with Johnson Oyster Farm loosing it's lease to the land.

There are submerged Oyster cages in the shallow water that you will be paddling through. You will need to be careful as you glide over them. The presence of these cages may change with Johnson Oyster Farm loosing it’s lease to the land.

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